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Sleep difficulties related to learning disabilities

Children and young people with additional support needs including those with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (also known as ASD) are far more likely to have sleep problems than other children. We can provide advice and support to families on coping with sleep difficulties.

The Specialist Learning Disability Service provides advice and support to children and young people with learning disabilities, their parents/carer(s) and the healthcare and education professionals they rely on.

Sleep difficulties can include children or young people not settling to sleep or waking early or often throughout the night. They might become noisy or distressed, during the night or when settling. Often parents/carer(s) have to sleep in shifts, sleep deprivation can have a devastating effect on the whole household.

How can we help?

All of the Learning Disability team are trained Sleep Action Sleep Counsellors (formally sleep Scotland), when a sleep referral is made to our service we will invite parents/ carers to a supportive sleep workshop.

Within the workshop we introduce sleep processes and techniques which are known to effectively support sleep problems. In the supportive sleep workshop, families are introduced to various techniques including behavioural modification, sleep history and keeping a sleep diary. Following the sleep workshop we ask parents/ carers to send us sleep diaries and invite them for a sleep advice clinic to determine the next steps in support.

Guidance and helpful information

If you have a child with learning disabilities and need support with their sleep behaviour please ask a health care professional to request a sleep assessment from Children and Family Health Devon.

young person sat down with two adults who are talking